Living Without High Speed Internet – The Downfall of Digital Game Purchases, DLC and Patches

Before packing up our things and moving to rural  Ohio I was actually excited to be back where there are seasons and relatively nice weather for most of the year.  The one thing I didn’t count on was the complete lack of high speed internet and how it would impact not only my job search (not having bandwidth to post a 500kb PDF resume will make you wonder why you try at all) but also my gaming experience.

angry-y-u-no

I never purchased a digital game until I owned a PS4 and was living in Monterey, CA.  I had high speed internet through the same company a lot of you probably go through (you know, because monopoly is the new word for competition these days).  I bought Grand Theft Auto 5 and loved it as much as I did on PS3, actually, I loved it more.  It was rendered beautifully.  The problem I faced upon the initial purchase was that it was around a 50GB download and my internet, as fast as it was at the time was going to give me this game after taking about eight hours to download the software.

I would then go on to buy Black Ops 3, COD WW2 and many other titles digitally because it seemed like a good idea at the time.  What I didn’t consider was the fact that maybe someday I wouldn’t have access to high speed internet.  It seemed ridiculous after having had it since 2005.  The thing that no one seems to think about is that while the games are a big part of your initial experience they also download patches that are sometimes over 8 GB in size on their own.  If you have played any game with online access you most likely have experience with having to wait for a patch to download and install… but wait, there’s more.

You might say, buy the game in hard copy form, dummy.  Yes, true enough – that’s a valid point to fix the first problem.  The patch issue when you have internet that is half a step better than dial-up is enough to make you buy an SNES Classic and find a happy place (Those still exist, right?… A happy place, I mean.  The SNES Classic isn’t even available in most places, I digress.).

You can’t play your old saves on games that don’t have the updated patch.  Your old game saves are tied to the latest patch that you downloaded.  So, if you have been playing Dark Souls, The Witcher, Skyrim, Fallout, Bloodborne, etc. and you own the hard copy disc but you deleted one of those games in order to play something new (Battlefield 1 (76 GB), Grand Theft Auto (76 GB), etc.) you will need to not only install the game again, but you will also have to download the patch to be able to load your old saves.

39years

I can’t complain in regards to almost any other aspect of life in terms of being fortunate in virtually every other facet of functionality.  I know I am lucky to be in the position I currently find myself.  However, when it comes to gaming and general accessibility to what is becoming a more internet-centralized world, I am at a loss with quite a few people in rural America.

There doesn’t seem to be a true fix for this situation other than demanding better infrastructure when it comes to running fiber optic cable all over the place.  You would think that it would be as simple as using your cell phone provider as a hot spot, but the way they throttle your data speed after a rather small amount is used basically puts you into the stone age in terms of internet access.

This is why I urge all of you to purchase your games in hard copy form. Sure, you will have to deal with downloading a patch over the course of a week, but imagine how long it would take you to download your next 50 GB game and then be greeted with a patch on top of that.

There is good reason to go out and buy your game at a store or however you prefer to acquire a hard copy.  It seems that the reason relates to time travel, because my PS4 is living in 1998.

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Earning and Spending XP In Madden 15

Just like any other sort of currency, you need to save, invest and spend your XP properly if you want your players to develop into juggernauts.  In some ways you may also want to spend XP differently on players you know you won’t keep or can’t keep.

Game Prep

Earning XP –  You will want to look at each player’s development trait in the ‘Progress Player’ screen before spending lots of points on them.  This will largely determine whether or not they will earn more points by performing extraordinarily.  Also, there is the ‘Consistency’ rating – this is key in helping players progress if they don’t get a lot of playing time or targets in games.  There is something you need to consider and determine on multiple levels before you spend your allotted hours on certain players – Do their expensive ratings warrant future investment?

If you are wanting to upgrade a WR, do you really want to spend XP on one that has 85 SPD?  Will it be cost effective to spend money on increasing his SPD?  Some may say that it is totally worth it – and that is fair and good.  Go for it.  However, if you really want to make the process easier you will want to check and upgrade their ‘Development and ‘Consistency’ ratings, respectively.

Upgrading development will increase the amount of XP a player earns for achieving goals in game – this includes obtaining awards, reaching milestones and other performance objectives.  Development costs 15,000 XP for each rating (from Slow to Normal to Quick to Superstar) – so keep in mind that it might take a season or two to build your favorite player into a Quick or Superstar Development rating.  However, once they are there – they will stay there and that is why it is worth upgrading quickly.

Upgrading consistency will increase the amount of XP your players will earn during weekly training in Game Prep.

Finally, earning XP is as simple (and difficult) as performing well in each game.  Once you have the necessary prerequisites (Development and Consistency) upgraded to your liking you will notice far more XP for each player you upgrade.

(Note: I argue that the confidence rating doesn’t matter nearly as much as the actual long-term ratings of players.  It could be because confidence simply needs tuned or patched to have a more dramatic effect – but with EA’s track record – I doubt it.)

Spending XP – This is one of the easier things to do once you follow the guide in earning XP.  It is entirely dependent on the player’s position and what type of player they are.  Here are the best ways to increase the OVR ratings or performance for each position (outside of ‘Consistency’).

(Note – I rarely/never increase player SPD or ACC ratings.  They are often too expensive to consider upgrading – and it helps with what little can remain simulation about picking ratings to increase for players in Madden.)

QB – Awareness, Short, Medium and Deep Accuracy, Play Action, Injury and Toughness.

HB – Awareness, Truck, Juke, Stiff Arm, Elusive, Agility,  Strength, Injury and Toughness.

FB – Awareness, Run Block, Pass Block, Strength, Injury and Toughness.

WR – Awareness, Catch, Catch In Traffic, Release, Agility, Spectacular Catch, Jump, Injury and Toughness.

TE – Awareness, Catch, Catch In Traffic, Run Block, Release, Spectacular Catch, Jump, Pass Block, Injury and Toughness.

OL – Awareness, Strength, Run Block, Pass Block, Impact Block, Injury and Toughness.

DL – Awareness, Tackle, Pursuit, Finesse and Power Moves, Agility, Injury and Toughness.

LB – Awareness, Tackle, Pursuit, Play Recognition, Finesse and Power Moves, Hit Power, Zone Coverage, Man Coverage, Agility, Injury and Toughness.

CB – Awareness, Man Coverage, Zone Coverage, Play Recognition, Tackle, Agility, Catch, Agility, Injury and Toughness.

S – Awareness, Zone Coverage, Man Coverage, Play Recognition, Tackle, Hit Power, Agility, Catch, Agility, Injury and Toughness.

K/P – Awareness, Kick Power, Kick Accuracy. (Note – Kickers and Punters can’t get injured in Madden… Because EA – well, you know.)

Madden 13 Roster Update – Top Rookies Included

The Madden 13 Roster Update 4-14-13 is available now!  – Download Here

The time has come to get your fix of updated rosters.  There have been some moves around the league lately and those moves have been accounted for (Cleveland’s recent trade for Dion Lewis being one of them).  While some of the rookies have been re-rated due to prior creation having them too high for their projections in the original roster file.

If you don’t know how to transfer rosters here is a walkthrough for you.

If you would like fresh links for the USB Re-Hasher or Modio click the links below.

USB Re-Hasher

Modio

I cannot take full credit for these rosters as the base roster can be found here.

EA Announces First ‘Real’ Patch for Madden 13

So much for waiting around for the patch EA made no promises on.  Madden 13 will have a patch tomorrow for the 360 and PS3.

From EA’s Facebook Page

“Madden NFL 13 Title Update #2 will be available tomorrow on the Xbox 360 & PS3. The update includes a new instant start option when creating your player in Connected Careers, numerous stability fixes, and GameFace improvements.

We’d also like to remind fans who have been asking about the ability to edit players and rosters in Connected Careers that based on your feedback, the development team is currently exploring the potential option to include additional functionality in Madden NFL 13 in an upcoming title update. We’ll update you with more information in the coming weeks after the team has time to investigate and assess the situation.”

 

Madden 13 Patch Should Be Arriving Within A Month

If you consider the past, it is usually a pretty safe bet to plan on a patch coming from EA Tiburon within seven to eight weeks of release.  Madden 13 has received relatively rave reviews this year – outside of the users that apparently need fantasy drafts in order to survive.  The biggest issues facing Madden relate to the problems found in their vaunted Connected Careers Mode.  There are also numerous gameplay issues that could use help from Tuner Updates and other such attention from EA Tiburon.

We will be keeping you updated on Madden 13 patch information as the month keeps moving on.  One thing is certain – the longer EA waits to support the game they put out every year the more people will abandon it for real football on TV, Borderlands and maybe even NBA 2K13.  In other words – EA needs to act like they care about their product for once and be a bit more proactive with their patch and tuner support.

This is yet another reason why we can’t wait for competition in football gaming.

Battlefield 3 Has Yet Another Texas Sized Patch

Usually when something needs ‘patched up’ it is in reference to something small that needs a little bit of a touch up where serious in-depth work isn’t needed.  Sometimes a game will require a few patches here and there to clear some things up in the coding.

EA DICE has made it a habit to duct tape their Battlefield 3 title together with patches that resemble changes that would be made for a completely new game.  While this update is primarily in regards to new DLC (which could be called a new game, I suppose) the fact remains that they keep putting out patches that take hours (at times) to download.  Hopefully this is the last ‘patch’ for awhile as Battlefield 3 has seemingly sunk into the background as Borderlands 2 and Halo 4 get closer to release.

Here is your lovely list of updates to BF3

Weapons Balancing
Reload timer adjustments
A number of weapons have had their reload timers adjusted to better fit their animations and gameplay balance. For most of these weapons the gameplay timers were slightly out of sync with the actual reload animation, meaning the player could either fire before the animation was done, or had to wait longer than the animation played. Primarily this is a cosmetic change (around 0.1sec); however for a few weapons (M416, F2000, FAMAS, KH2002, MK3A1, JNG90, MG36 QBU-88, SVD, Pecheneg, SCAR-H, AN-94) this should also improve the performance of the weapon. Full details below:
• Short and Long reload reduced: SCAR-L, AEK-971, F2000, AN-94, AK-74, PP2000, G3A3, SKS, MG36, JNG-90, MK3A1, SCAR-H, SVD, QBZ-95B
• Long reload reduced: AUG A3, 44 Magnum, KH2002, Pecheneg, L85A2, QBB-95, M1911, MP7
• Short reload reduced: M417, FAMAS, M39 EBR, M416, PP-19, QBU-88
• Short and long reload increased: ASVal
• Long reload reduced, shot reload increased: M4A1
• Long reload increased: P90

Damage output/range adjustments
• UMP: Increased the close range damage of the UMP but reduced its damage over range. The UMP now has a sweet spot in CQB but suffers compared to the PP2000 at longer ranges.
• PP2000: Increased the long range damage of the PP2000 to highlight its role as a mid-range, low recoil PDW.
• M1911: Increased the minimum damage of the M1911 to make it fit better between the Magnums and the M9/MP443
• M93: Reduced the M93R’s damage and range, as it was an obvious go to pistol compared to the M9/MP443. Its recoil has been reduced for a smoother burst action to counter the reduced damage.
• 12G Frag rounds: These rounds have been adjusted to do their damage in a smaller area but to be more consistently apply the maximum possible damage.
• AA: Slightly increased the damage of the AA against infantry, the AA was simply over nerfed in a previous update. The AA guns now also properly do damage to MBTs again.
• 12 Gauge buckshot close range damage has been slightly increased.
• Slightly reduced the range penalty for the suppressor on the SCAR-H.
• Increased bullet velocity for the coaxial HMG, making it easier to hit targets over longer ranges.
• Increased the minimum range of the 40mm Flechette and tightened the cone of fire for more consistent damage levels.
• Slightly reduced the range bonus added by the heavy barrel on the 5.56mm, 5.45mm, 6.5mm Assault Rifles.
• Slightly reduced the range penalty for the suppressor on 5.56mm, 5.45mm, and 6.5mm weapons: AR, Carbine, and LMG.
• Slightly reduced the range penalty for the suppressor on the SCAR-H.
• Slightly reduced the range penalty for the suppressor on 5.56mm, 5.45mm, and 6.5mm weapons: AR, Carbine, and LMG.
• Slightly reduced the range bonus added by the heavy barrel on the 5.56mm, 5.45mm, 6.5mm Assault Rifles.
• Increased the damage of the M5K.

A select set of weapons have had their recoil adjusted based on joint community feedback and statistical analysis to provide greater balance in the weapon choices players make. Specifically, the M16A3 and M4A1 have increased recoil to make them less attractive in all situations. Competing weapons like the SG553, G36C and M416 have been improved to also increase viable player choice in primary weapons.
• SG553: Horizontal recoil reduced to help make this weapon more controllable.
• MG36: Vertical recoil reduced to make this weapon more controllable.
• M416: Vertical, Horizontal, and First Shot recoil have all been reduced to make this weapon clearly different from the M16A3.
• M16A3: Recoil amounts slightly increased.
• M4A1: Recoil amounts slightly increased.
• G36C: Vertical and First Shot recoil amounts reduced.
• M16A4 and M4: These weapons have been adjusted for the increased recoil they now have. The burst versions of these weapons give the player a reduction in horizontal recoil for greater control.

Miscellaneous weapons changes
• FIM92 and IGLA now lock on to air vehicles at both lower altitudes and longer distances.
• Added Burst Fire to the M5K as an available fire mode.
• Increased the bonuses provided by a number of bipods: F2000, G3A3, M27, M416, Pecheneg, Type88, FAMAS, MG36
• Belt Fed Machine guns are now more accurate when standing and firing while aiming. This affects the M240, M249, Type88, Pecheneg, and LSAT.
• 44 Magnum: Rate of fire reduced slightly to highlight this side arm’s role as a slow firing heavy hitter and differentiate it from the MP412 REX.
• Increased the fire rate and reload time of the MP412 REX to better highlight the improved CQB performance over the 44 Magnum.
• Removed burst fire from the L85 and added Single Shot to the L86 as is authentic for these weapons.
• Slightly increased the radius for maximum damage of the 40mm LVG. While the overall damage level remains the same, the LVG will be lethal over a larger area.
• Reduced the aimed accuracy bonus of the M417 with a suppressor to balance it with the other weapons in the game.
• Increased the aimed accuracy bonus of the ACW-R, L86 LSW, LSAT, MP5K and MTAR with a suppressor to balance with the other weapons in the game.

Weapons fixes
• Underslung weapons on the AUG and SCAR-L now properly benefit from the hip accuracy bonus of an attached laser sight.
• The SOFLAM will no longer lock onto your own vehicle if deployed and not immediately activated by the player.
• SCAR-L: Fixed the heavy barrel not increasing recoil when zoomed and standing.
• Corrected some incorrect descriptions of clip sizes and bullet types for weapons added in Close Quarters: M5K, LSAT, and ACW-R
• The PKS-07 is now available on QBB-95
• The M417’s foregrip was incorrectly reducing horizontal recoil by too large an amount. It has been adjusted to be balanced with other foregrips.
• The ACR Foregrip, MG36, QBB-95 and RPK Extended magazines as well as the RPK and SKS Heavy Barrel are now able to be unlocked and equipped in the accessory screen.
• Fixed an issue with incorrect damage for the M320 buck when used with certain attachments.
• MK3A1 now uses flechette rounds instead of Frag rounds in Gun Master mode (in Close Quarters).

Vehicle Related Tweaks and Fixes
• Removed flares from gunner position in helicopters. With the right combination of unlocks, an attack helicopter could be effectively invulnerable to lock on missiles. Removing the flares from the gunner balances the attack helicopter against ground fire.
• Air Radar now shows friendly vehicles as well.
• Helicopter weapons can now destroy equipment with splash damage.
• The Laser Designator unlock on the Scout Helicopters has been changed from a Pilot Upgrade to a new stance in the Copilot seat (position 4). Like the CITV turret on the Main Battle Tanks, the Scout Helicopter’s Laser Designator is permanently available to players who have received the unlock.
• Repair tool damage against enemy vehicles lowered by 10%.
• Changed reload behavior on Tank / Tank Destroyer cannon weapons to prevent being able to fire 2 shots from different weapons quickly one right after another.
• Firing mode can now be seen from the vehicle passenger seats where you are allowed to fire your own weapons.
• Fixed the hit indicator showing when entering a vehicle after previously shooting a soldier.
• Increased the damage helicopter and jet rockets do to helicopters, jets and infantry.
• Increased the damage helicopter gunners and IFVs do to helicopters and jets.
• Fixed Jets not getting top attack damage bonuses on Laser Designated targets.

Persistence Related Tweaks and Fixes
• Changed how MCOM station defend/attack kill score is calculated. Victim no longer needs to arm/disarm the crate but rather be in a 5 meter radius of the crate. Also increased kills needed for the Crate Defend Ribbon from 2 to 4. Overall, these changes should make it somewhat easier to get the ribbon, while increasing the opportunity for strategic play around MCOM stations.
• Premium Engineer assignments are now counting all shotgun kills independent from the class using it.
• Fixed so you can get score from awards in coop.
• Accuracy dogtags now show the correct stats.
• Coop Stars and dogtag are now properly unlockable and equip able.
• Gun Master and Domination Winner ribbons and medals added.
• Fix for assignment with multiple dependencies showing as unlocked in frontend. (Jack of All Trades & Only for the Dedicated)

UI Related Tweaks and Fixes
• Added letters to the capture point icons displayed directly over the mini-map.
• Fixed the grenade counter acting strangely when entering a vehicle with a grenade in hand.
• Fixed the damage indicator which showed the wrong direction if the damage dealer was dead.
• Fixed the hit indicator showing when spawning or closing the in game menu.
• PC specific: Fixed laser designator related icons disappearing from the screen when you enable the chat.
• Fixed a bug where the clan tag sometimes shows as the player ID.
• Added clan tags in nametags and kill card.
• PC specific: Fixed the vehicle hit indicator being shown each time you re-enter the first person camera of a ground vehicle.
• Fixed so commorose VO works when sitting in an AA vehicle.
• Fixed so you get the critical health fullscreen color tint while in the post revive state.
• Removed the join button in the server list for non-Premium users on Premium exclusive servers.
• Fixed so the spawn menu always disappears when you are revived.
• Bugfix the colorblind objectives showing the wrong icons and blinking with a black background.
• Fixed M-Com distance not updating if user moves towards it with EOD Bot.
• Mortar strike explosions are now shown on the HUD for the shooter.

Miscellaneous Tweaks and Fixes
• Fixed so the MAV gadget will not remain floating in midair if the user exits it while still flying.
• Fixed bug where it was possible to shoot while transitioning from sprint into prone.
• Fixed so you can’t revive a player who switched team since he died.
• Fixed two exploits on Donya Fortress that allowed players to get on top of the level.
• Fixed bug where you could get an incorrectly calculated longest headshot with the EOD bot.
• PS3/Xbox 360 specific: Added map rotation settings to preset list in detailed server info. Players can now see all relevant settings that are being run on the server.
• Xbox 360 specific: Introduced a clickable promotional spot on the main menu.

If You Ain’t First, You’re Last – Why People Avoid Playing Sports Games Online

If You Find A Great League – Cherish It

Do not let my jaded perspective ruin your desire to find a great league.  I am always looking for a great group of gamers that want to have a genuinely great time playing the game for the sake of fun and community.  There are a few of these almost mythological leagues and dynasties out there.  The hard part is finding one that will accept a new member or finding one that is even looking for new members.

If you are looking for an online league for any sports game you would be wise to check out the forums over at OperationSports.com and TraditionSportsOnline.com.

I would be remissed and it would be unfair to tell you that every league and online experience is terrible.  However, this article is meant to educate you of the downfalls because if you find something great there will be no reason for you to read the rest of this article.  However, if you are looking for honesty with objective, personal experiences and opinions – NoobTubeTV.com is always the best place to find it.

Online Connected Careers could be Madden’s saving grace.
 Why People Avoid Playing Sports Games Online

There is a fine line between friendly competition and taking a game a bit too seriously.  In my early gaming years it was hard for me to take a loss… even to the CPU.  Somehow the ‘Reset’ button would always get hit or I would have something come up that I had to do that would make me turn the game off.  What I started to learn after awhile was that it gave my season quite a bit more enjoyment to lose a game that I either didn’t play well or was simply outclassed by better opposition.

Something happens when you start playing other people in sports games though.  It is as if the stress level increases exponentially and your enjoyment of the game gives way to one thing – winning at all costs.  The issue is starting to climb more and more as online competition becomes more ubiquitous with gaming in general.  There are two primary reasons why online sports gaming is avoided like the plague by a large percentage of sports gamers.

Online Lobbies Are A Cesspool

If you have played a game of Madden NFL online, the chances are good that you have come across someone that either becomes verbally abusive if you start winning or they do something that is almost more annoying.  Cheating or Cheesing (using shortcomings of the game’s AI or a certain play that is almost unstoppable every time) has given gamers a reason to avoid online sports gaming altogether.  In these cases, it really just ruins the game for people that either aren’t experienced or prefer to play a more ‘simulation’ style of game (look for our upcoming article on ‘Simple Ways To Be A ‘Sim’ Gamer’).

Online Leagues Are A Crapshoot

Over the last few years many sports games have started allowing online leagues to form so that groups of gamers could find purpose in what had been up until that point trivial leaderboard competitions at best.  There had been communities of gamers making their own online leagues for years.  It wasn’t until EA Sports gave gamers a chance to run a league with NCAA Football 09 that it became a bit more ‘mainstream’.  In Madden 10, it finally came in the form of the sickeningly bare-bones ‘Online Franchise’ mode.

In order to get Madden you should probably pre-order the game from GameStop.
Personally, I miss his presence in the game that has made his name even more immortal.

Now that all gamers had a chance to join a league in NCAA or Madden Football it was only a matter of time before the friendly leagues with a lot of promise turned into glorified Lobby Matches.  In college football leagues all you need to do is lose a game to effectively end your chances to win a championship and then you start seeing league member quit by the week.

In the pro game, it is a bit more forgiving if you lose a game… or five.  The problem with Madden is that for some reason a lot of the people that play it competitively make it seem like it is a requirement to be rude or make every game into some sort of digital war of  ‘money plays’.  Sure, there are occasions when you will find a decent game but those seem to be as fleeting as the leagues they are a part of.

Who Wants To Wait?

It isn’t a question of whether or not online leagues are a good idea or if there are ‘good’ leagues out there.  For most people, it just isn’t as much fun to play in an online league because they have to wait for other people.

On a personal level, it isn’t uncommon for me to play two or three games at a time during my sports gaming sessions.  If you are in a league with multiple users you usually have to wait on a scheduled advance before you can play another game.  I don’t want to plan my week or my days around other gamers.  If I start a game and in the middle of the first quarter I need to leave for an emergency I don’t want to have to explain myself to anyone, let alone some guy in my league.  If it is a friend, of course they will understand but when you start getting into leagues and ‘official sites’ it can turn into some sort of elitist club of ‘Uncle Ricos’.